Friday, December 14, 2007

Use Your Allusion: Scheherazade

Scheherazade is a legendary Persian queen, and the storyteller of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. There was a Persian emperor named Shahriar who had been cheated on by his first wife, and as a result, he never trusted any women. He would marry a new bride each day, but would condemn her to death on the following morning so that she would never have the chance to cheat on him. After 3,000 other wives, all who were executed, he ended up marrying the beautiful Scheherazade, who was a bit wiser than the others.

On the first night, Scheherazade began telling him an enchanting tale, but left it unfinished. He was so curious to hear what would happen next, he spared her life on the next day so that she would continue her tale and he could hear the end of it. She managed to keep this routine going for 1,001 nights.

By the end of the story, they had three children together, and Scheherazade had taught the emperor much about integrity and kindness through the things woven into her tale. She was not only spared, but continued to be the emperor's consort.

This allusion was used a lot in Stephen King's book Misery. An insane fan keeps an author locked in her house, breaking his legs to keep him from getting away. Though she intends for them both to die together, he postpones it by continuing to write a new book. She is so eager to see what will happen in the story, she holds off on killing him. King must have drawn a lot of his inspiration for this book from the life of Scheherazade.

When you are in a position where you are forced to distract someone with something interesting for your own safety or wellbeing, you might compare yourself to Scheherazade.

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